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The Kennedy Imprisonment: A Meditation on Power

3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  76 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
From one of America's foremost historians, The Kennedy Imprisonment is the definitive historical and psychological analysis of the Kennedy clan. The winner of a Pulitzer Prize, Garry Wills reveals a family that enjoyed public adulation but provided fluctuating leadership, that experienced both unparalleled fame and odd failures, and whose basic values ensnared its men in t ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published November 14th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published 1983)
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Apr 14, 2011 Eric rated it really liked it
Shelves: lurid, history, americans
…they ran their ops until the wind changed and the ops got run back on them. (Michael Herr)

I love “Camelot” because it’s such a meretricious fantasy, a cunning compact of sleaze and style, the most vulgar political dream the country has entertained, and one perfect for a society then at the apex of its power and prosperity, but at the same time uneasy, immature, and already overstimulated by electronic mirages. To cautious counselors President Kennedy bragged: “They can't touch me while I'm aliv
Jul 23, 2011 Jon added it
This book, from the 1980s, is one of the best on the Kennedys, by the noted historian who has also written books about Jack Ruby (co-written with Ovid Demaris), Nixon, and tons of books about Catholicism. (I haven't read Wills' Catholic stuff because theology bores the hell out of me.) Some of the material herein is outdated: for instance, Wills says JFK's sister Rosemary was mentally retarded when it's now generally accepted that she was merely high-strung and rebellious (given a lobotomy on Jo ...more
Mary Ann
Jun 16, 2015 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing
The author shows how the Bay of Pigs lead to the Cuban Missile Crisis and to the Viet Nam War; he shows the mistakes and burdens of Ted Kennedy and argues successfully that Dr. Martin Luther King left behind a much braver,and much greater legacy of social change than the Kennedys. The author tends to be wordy, and repetitious in parts, but this is a good book for those interested in the Cold War history and the social upheavals of the late 20th century.
Sep 29, 2009 Kit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book has been keeping me up way past my bedtime. Wills' style is a bit over the top at times, and the tone is often heavily dramatic, but his point about the dark side of our love for such gargantuan power figures as the Kennedys is uncomfortably on target. The book has provoked internal agitation and diatribes that I haven't felt in a long time, enough so that I have to wonder if my lips are moving as I read it on the bus. He succeeds in creating sympathy and understanding for the unlikeli ...more
Erik Graff
May 11, 2014 Erik Graff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Kennedy fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
In 1980 Edward Kennedy ran against Jimmy Carter in the Democratic Party primaries. He lost. Wills' book, an analysis of the Kennedy phenomenon going back to Joe Sr., appears to have been inspired by this attempt and its failure. The account he gives, particularly of Jack's presidency, is depressing but beautifully and insightfully written.

David Bales
Oct 11, 2011 David Bales rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011
The classically chilling look by Garry Wills at the Kennedys, a jaundiced and critical assessment of America's "royalty" from the Wall Street banker father, (the shady Joseph Kennedy) to his youngest son, Ted, who became--in an unlikely twist--one of the greatest United States Senators of all time. With Ted's ill-fated and badly-conceived 1980 challenge to President Carter as a reoccurring guide, Wills examines Joe Sr., Jack and Bobby's lives and careers and the paranoia that they brought forth ...more
P Gonski
Aug 14, 2009 P Gonski rated it really liked it
Adds insight into the 'myth' of the kennedy's and how they were shaped more by their father into certain figures, rather than shaping themselves. Shows their flaws, as well as their accomplishments and burdens
Oct 17, 2014 Judi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Judi by: Olga
Shelves: politics
Moving, enlightening. Gave me a whole new perspective on President Kennedy and his legacy.
Jun 01, 2008 Ed rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
real good.
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Garry Wills is an author and historian, and a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books. In 1993, he won a Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction for his book Lincoln at Gettysburg: The Words That Remade America, which describes the background and effect of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address on November 19, 1863.

More about Garry Wills...

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